Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie is available to stream on Netflix.
It's hard to overestimate the impact of Sailor Moon. Naoko Takeuchi's seminal magical girl manga and the anime series it inspired shaped generations of viewers and creators. Your favorite shows from Steven Universe to Teen Titans Go, Adventure Time to Craig of the Creek, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and even South Park have all been influenced by the iconic anime. Almost 30 years since the original series debuted in Japan, Sailor Moon has not one but two new films debuting on Netflix. Released in cinemas in Japan earlier this year, the streamer is bringing the newest additions to Sailor Moon canon to US shores far sooner than expected. And it was worth the — admittedly — short wait.
Continuing where the recent remake Sailor Moon Crystal left off, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal acts as a fourth season of the popular reimagining as well as working as a stand-alone pair of movies that adapt the famous Dream arc of the original comics. And with stunning animation that manages to combine the art style of Takeuchi's original manga with the beloved '90s cartoon, this is a must-watch for anime fans, animation lovers, and anyone who enjoys magical pastel-hued adventures.
If you're unfamiliar with Sailor Moon, it follows a young girl named Usagi Tsukino who — thanks to her friendship with a cat named Luna — gains the power to transform into the titular hero. Her goal? To save the world from evil forces alongside her fellow Sailor Guardians: Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus. The series is most well remembered for the transformation sequences in which the teenage girls turn into their superpowered alter-egos, as well as a hilarious English dub that accompanied the '90s reruns. That's the most basic setup but Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal is a lot more complex. Still, even if you aren't a huge fan and haven't watched any of the other adaptations or read the manga, you can likely find something to enjoy in this entertaining if sometimes dense double bill.
Things begin, as all good spooky things do, with a solar eclipse. It's here that everything begins to go wrong as the Dead Moon Circus shows up and starts infecting each of the Guardians with their worst nightmares. It's a classic sci-fi genre set-up that will be familiar to anyone who's watched shows like Star Trek, Buffy, and even Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. But Takeuchi came up with this decades ago and it's still one of the most effective versions of the trope. Sailor Moon has always been known for its outrageous villains and we get plenty of them as the Dead Moon Circus begins to attack the Guardians both mentally and physically. One of the best aspects of the Dream arc, though, is the use of the Nightmare trope to examine that period between teenage and adulthood, and the way that the desperation to leave childish things — and friends — behind can leave us vulnerable and alone. There's a nice message here about friendship, togetherness, and loyalty, but it's all couched in technicolor kickass action.
While new fans might find it a little hard to keep up with the lore and character dynamics, diehard fans could potentially feel like this is a little too compressed. Taking an entire arc and translating it to two movies that are less than three hours combined means that this is a very abridged version of the Dream arc. Saying that, though, it works for what it is. This is a distillation of what makes Sailor Moon so special. While '90s kids might miss Usagi comfort eating or those quieter character moments, there's still plenty to love, especially when it comes to the representation of the outer Guardians Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Saturn, who all shine in their very sapphic glory here. Plus, the fashions are, of course, to die for.
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The two new Netflix Sailor Moon movies provide killer fight scenes, many great transformations — including what might be a series-best in the final act — and a whole bunch of fun character moments. It's fun to think of kids (and grownup kids) who have never discovered the joys of Sailor Moon finding them through this utterly delightful and visually stunning addition to the series. There's so much experimental cartooning magic here that Western animation still lacks to this day: prolonged atmosphere moments, costume and character designs that are too weird to be true, minutes-long metamorphosis sequences that feature nothing but beautiful backgrounds, and stunning character designs.
The glittering spectacle of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal is the kind of escapist entertainment we could also use right now. So if you want to lose yourself for a little while then put this on and get ready to feel inspired to kick butt, love your friends, and wear a lot more color.
Source: IGN.com Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Review